Kids’ Painted Mousepad Project
I was asked to teach a craft class at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Raleigh as part of a memorial gift in the name of my dear friend, Nancy Kevin. Previous experience has illustrated that no one has any fun when I’m in charge of children,* but since this was for Nancy, I agreed to do it. I took my camera to the class, but was too frazzled to get any pictures of the kids’ completed projects. Here, though, are the directions in case some other intrepid soul is better suited to working with children.
I ordered some inexpensive blank mousepads from eBay and played around with different dyes and paints to see what would work on the mousepad surface. I decided I liked Dye-na-Flo’s colors and the way it reacted with salt for this project. It’s also fairly economical (unless you have an out-of-control nine-year-old boy in your class). Note well: Being a dye, it’s also a stain-maker, so if someone has sent their darling daughter to crafts class in her best summer sun dress and not sent a smock, be prepared for trouble.
1. Fold a square of freezer paper snowflake style and cut designs into it to make a stencil. Don’t let the children’s designs get too complicated. Use a little bit of glue from a glue stick to hold the stencil in place on the mousepad.
3. Sprinkle kosher salt over the dye areas while still fairly wet. Carefully lift off the stencil.
4. Wait a few minutes to let the salt settle and do its magic. Have big plastic bags available for children to take their projects home, because you certainly don’t want to wait around for their parents to remember to pick them up.
As you can see, even if the stencil isn’t held in place, the results are still satisfying. Thank goodness.
(And thank goodness I know that Nancy has a sense of humor, watching me from above. )
* I once dragged a noisy child into the supply closet with me to have a private religious education class when my husband was trying to teach the rest of the class. Don’t even ask about the shrieking Girl Scouts on the weekend camping trip. “Of course there are bugs: we’re in the woods, girls.”